A police officer from Texas has resigned after a video surfaced online showing him pointing his gun at unarmed teenagers.
Hundreds of protesters rallied at Comstock Elementary School in McKinney on Monday evening, carrying signs urging an end to police brutality. The fiasco took place last Friday when officers were called to a disturbance at a pool party taking place in the upper-middle-class suburb of McKinney, 50 miles north of Texas.
This amateur video (below), shot on the phone of a reveller at the party, shows an officer, since named as 10-year veteran Eric Casebolt, arriving on the scene with a totally pointless barrel roll (0.5 seconds) that Rambo would’ve been proud of.
After that, with his gun already drawn, of course, he wastes no time and immediately begins to manhandle several bystanders with urgency. Then his attention turns to a defenceless 15-year-old girl who, after complying with his demands, has her face slammed to ground before being pinned down by the officer’s knee.
The McKinney Police Department responded in a statement on Facebook:
McKinney police chief Greg Conley said the “juveniles who were creating the disturbance” were “fighting and refusing to leave”. A claim that is difficult to see from this particular video.
He added that “several concerns about the conduct of one of the officers on the scene have been raised,” and that “a formal investigation into the incident has been started and the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Community leaders and protesters, who were out in force on Monday, called for the officer’s contract of employment to be discontinued. The girl who was seen being pinned down in the video, 15-year-old Dajerria Becton, told local news station KDFW that she thinks that “him getting fired isn’t enough”.
Ex-officer Casebolt, who has been named ‘Officer of the Year’ in the past, tendered his resignation yesterday and McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley branded his actions “indefensible” in a press conference. But let’s take another moment to appreciate that barrel roll – a sterling career as a stuntman or a comedian must be in the pipeline for Casebolt.
The incident is the latest in a seemingly endless list of violent altercations in the US between the police and their citizens. Since July last year the most high-profile cases have all involved African American victims shot dead by the police: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Tamir Rice in Ohio. A Google search of the words ‘police brutality in America’ yields 3,720,000 results in 0.65 seconds.
The United States has the largest total prison population of any nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. One in four of the world’s prisoners belongs to the ‘the land of the free’.